An explanation by my teacher, Michael Harner. The following excerpts are taken from The Way of The Shaman by Michael Harner. Thank you Michael for your eloquence.
“Shamans-whom we in the ‘civilized’ world have called ‘medicine men’ and ‘witch doctors’- are the keepers of a remarkable body of ancient techniques that they use to achieve and maintain well-being and healing for themselves and members of their communities. These shamanic methods are strikingly similar the wold over, even for peoples whose cultures are quite different in other respects, and who have been separated by oceans and continents for tens of thousands of years.
“Shamanism is a great mental and emotional adventure, one in which the patient as well as the shaman-healer are involved. Through his heroic journey and efforts, the shaman helps his patients transcend their normal, ordinary definition of reality, including the definition of themselves as ill. The shaman shows his patients that they are not emotionally and spiritually alone in their struggles against illness and death. The shaman shares his special powers and convinces this patients, on a deep level of consciousness, that another human is willing to offer up his own self to help them The shaman’s self-sacrifice calls forth a commensurate emotional commitment from his patients, a sense of obligation to struggle alongside the shaman to save one’s self. Caring and curing go hand in hand.”
When I practice Shamanism I move between Ordinary Reality (this experience of the world as you perceive it, right here, right now) and Non-Ordinary Reality or the Shamanic State of consciousness, which is similar to lucid dreaming. All things are possible in Dreamtime and to the shamans Dreamtime is Realtime and much healing takes place there.
To me I would describe it as parallel reality traveling which also links up to the whole concept of “string theory”.
In any case, in my experience the shaman aligns with the compassionate spirits to gather information and healing for the client. Shamans are the people who “go between the worlds” working with the compassionate spirits to help others.
For more information please visit : www.shamanism.org